Imagine a visually stunning, discerning young woman with golden hair, azure-blue eyes, and a near-perfect figure. Her fiancé is a tall, blond-headed hunk of masculine magic who not only makes six figures a year, but also exudes a class, style, and charisma most men lack and certainly all envy. So if Paige has all of this and so much more, then why is she so unhappy?
The answer is that although Chris loves her, Paige isn’t what he holds most dear; his career has always been first in his life. Paige’s biggest fear is to marry him, and then wind up spending the rest of her days wishing she hadn’t.
A chance encounter allows her to meet Dennis Dru, an average-looking, minimum-wage worker who is also a paraplegic. Paige is happy to discover that Dennis is one of the kindest, sincerest men she has ever met. Most of all, he seems to admire her for who she is as a person, rather than for how attractive she looks.
As their relationship grows, Paige is introduced to Dennis’s sister and finds out that there’s more to Jasmine than just a brooding, disillusioned recluse. Jasmine proves to be an enlightened intellectual who’s also an extremely gifted painter. Paige is instrumental in boosting Jasmine’s self-esteem, and persuades her to pursue a career in fine art, much to the chagrin of brother Brent.
Brent Dru is an extremely volatile and dangerous young man. He physically abuses Jasmine, a fact which creates a self-described Gethsemane for her in their family’s rundown, west Philadelphia row house. Brent personifies an evil that foreshadows the threat he presents not only to Jasmine, but also to Dennis, their mother, and now to Paige.
Brent finds a worthy adversary in Paige; it aggravates him to deal with someone who’s willing to fight back. Still, the situation is sad, because Paige starts to see that any resolution to her problems with Brent may also mark an end to the otherwise glorious relationship she’s found with Dennis. Despite Brent’s many shortcomings, Dennis still loves his brother dearly.
Jasmine’s own past involves a degree of turmoil, enough to inspire Paige to rethink their growing friendship. A disturbing similarity between Brent’s sadism and Jasmine’s own iniquities surfaces, hurling Paige into the middle of the family’s struggles and angst, which ultimately leads to the story’s heady, and most unexpected, conclusion.
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